187 Followers
5 Following
MannyRayner

Manny Rayner's book reviews

I love reviewing books - have been doing it at Goodreads, but considering moving here.

Currently reading

The Greatest Show On Earth: The Evidence For Evolution
Richard Dawkins
R in Action
Robert Kabacoff
Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies
Douglas R. Hofstadter
McGee on Food and Cooking: An Encyclopedia of Kitchen Science, History and Culture
Harold McGee
Epistemic Dimensions of Personhood
Simon Evnine
Pattern Recognition and Machine Learning (Information Science and Statistics)
Christopher M. Bishop
Relativity, Thermodynamics and Cosmology
Richard C. Tolman
The Cambridge Handbook of Second Language Acquisition
Julia Herschensohn, Martha Young-Scholten
Eats, Shoots  &  Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation - Lynee Truss I have, for some reason, frequently been recommended Lynne Truss's book, though the reason escapes me; friends who have been exposed to my academic writing style are particularly prone to do so, and I have grown used to this strange phenomenon. I'm sure it says more about them - poor, unenlightened souls - than it does about me; for some reason, in particular, very few people understand what a wonderful punctuation mark the semi-colon is, and that it can, and very often should, be used to replace the period. Though there is also, of course, much to recommend the humble comma: the average sentence (not that I wish to imply that a sentence should content itself with merely being average) could be much improved by the addition of one or two, possibly more, of these handy little beasts.

No, I simply can't understand it; I suppose that a careful reading of Eats, Shoots and Leaves could, if I really tried, help me make my sentences a little longer, and assist me in festooning them with additional, glorious, punctuation. But why gild the lily?

____________________________________________

(based on a conversation earlier this morning with Jordan; apologies to Bob Dylan)

Hey, Mr Semi-Colon Man: play a song for me!
I'm not sleepy; and there ain't no place I'm going to;
Hey, Mr Semi-Colon Man: play a song for me!
In the jingle, jangle morning, I'll come, followin' you.

Though I know that evenin's empire has returned into sand;
Vanished from my hand;
Left me blindly here, to stand, but still not sleeping;
My weariness amazes me; I'm branded on my feet;
I have no one to meet;
And the ancient, empty street's too dead for dreaming.

Hey, Mr Semi-Colon Man: play a song for me!
I'm not sleepy; and there ain't no place I'm going to;
Hey, Mr Semi-Colon Man: play a song for me!
In the jingle, jangle morning, I'll come, followin' you.

____________________________________________

Seen yesterday in the window of a Geneva art gallery, this 1927 painting by Jean Arp entitled Point-Virgule ("semi-colon"):

description

I wanted to buy it on the spot. Unfortunately, a) the gallery was closed, b) a little internet research revealed that it last went for around 900,000 euros.

Damn. But still, if you feel like giving me a really expensive surprise present you'll now know what to do.
____________________________________________

From Pico Iyer's essay In Praise of the Humble Comma:
A comma... catches the gentle drift of the mind in thought, turning in on itself and back on itself, reversing, redoubling, and returning along the course of its own sweet river music; while the semicolon brings clauses and thoughts together with all the silent discretion of a hostess arranging guests around her dinner table.
____________________________________________

Spotted earlier this morning by notgettingenough in an article about Waterstones (formerly Waterstone's). I would have contributed.

description